Why Managing your Release Forms is Important for your Equestrian Business

I once spoke to an equestrian business owner, a woman who owned a stable and I became excited as I had been looking for a place to experience my first ride on a horse. Sadly, she informed me that she no longer offered riding lessons or services as the liabilities and risks were too high. She explained that after a lawsuit, she decided to no longer offer rides or lessons as she was unable to renew her insurance.

When asked why she didn’t better protect herself, and if she had her customers sign a release form or liability waiver, she simply waved it off with an exasperated, “it’s not as easy to keep up with as you think.” Based on the scarcity of equestrian business owners offering riding experiences and lessons, it dawned on me that she might not be the only stable owner facing legal difficulties resulting in no coverage from insurance companies.

Amongst many stable management tasks, a release form (or liability waiver) is a crucial document to have and manage in case legal actions take place. As most stable owners know, tracking and managing the signage of release forms is critical administrative work but it is easy for these to sometimes get lost or get missed entirely.

Why Release Forms Are Important for Equestrian Business’

Release forms will limit liability in the event a member of your organization gets injured or hurt while participating in the activities conducted in your stable. This document should include details on what activity is the subject of the release, who will be released from liability, who will be participating in the activity, the emergency contact person, and their relationship to the signee.

In order for your release of liability be binding and validated in court, you must clearly state the risks involved in the activities. Through precise, clear, and understandable language, your customer should fully understand the risks they are voluntarily assuming by participating in the activity prior to signing the form. To ensure proper wording always contact your insurance company to approve the contents of your release and comply to any changes they suggest. If you live in an area that doesn’t have insurance coverage available, ensure you get a lawyer to review the contents.

Certain countries, states and provinces, have laws in place to protect stable owners from liability. Despite laws regulating liabilities, stable owners must inform customers and workers of the dangers that they are assuming and a release form can help with this. Always get proper legal advice on these topics as the specific laws differ from place to place.

Liability waivers and release forms play an important role in shifting some of the responsibility from the owners to your customer as they agree to not pursue you or your equestrian business. Although having a release form or liability form is important, it should not be an excuse to become negligent – always make sure you do your part in making your stable safe for use.

The Problems of Managing Your Release Forms and Keeping Them Up to Date

Traditionally, documents are signed on paper. The reasons vary – having a witness verifying that the person of interest is the one signing the document and not anyone else is a major one. Signing paper documents with a witness was a good solution to minimize dishonesty. However, keeping up with the files in office when many different people can be involved can lead to mistakes and has certainly led to decreased efficiencies.

Many stable owners have struggled and continue to struggle with managing their release forms and are at greater liability or risk because of it. Having release forms signed by paper requires customers to be physically present; meeting with them takes up valuable time you could spend providing better service. In addition, paper documents easily get misplaced or lost, and always need to be printed in advance to be readily available. If your stable receives legal advice to update the release form, the process of getting every customer to sign the new forms can become cumbersome and you may end up missing a few. This puts your horse stable business at grave risk and compromises its chances of being profitable.

Statistics show that 81% of riders have been injured at least once in their lives due to horse riding activities, so the chances of legal actions being taken against your stable at some point are fairly high. It is crucial to get 100% coverage on your release forms. It is also important to take the initiative to operate your business efficiently while you protect it.

The Solution

The solution to simplify and accurately track your release forms is to use a modern online system that is tied directly into your customer list. Technology has simplified business processes for nearly every industry, and this now includes the equestrian sport.

With Stablebuzz’ all new online platform, your release forms are safe and secure. You can email your customers a request to sign the release form instantly, and when they sign it, it is automatically saved into your system. You can easily track who has signed and when, and late or outstanding signatures. It is easy to update your release forms and resend it to all your active customers from your phone, tablet, or laptop for free using Stablebuzz, which is also a complete Stable Management system. You don’t have to be tied down to an office space with intimidating piles of paper. Many of your administrative tasks can be done on the fly while your customers ride, while feeding your horses, or supervising workers and making sure everything is running smoothly at your stable.

If an unfortunate legal event takes place, you will have all your documents available for your insurance company with proof that it was signed by the plaintiff. The Stablebuzz release form system contains trackable features confirming that the plaintiff agreed to assume the risks stated in the signed release form.

Stablebuzz offers the ability to protect your stable business and gain control of your administrative tasks. Stable management is not always a walk in the park, but with innovative technology you can spend less time worrying and more time running your business with confidence.

Stablebuzz is committed to preserving and growing equestrian sport for future generations, and one way we do that is to provide stable management solutions that aid in making existing and future equestrian businesses profitable.

Take the leap with Stablebuzz today.